After almost six years of music, Winner’s third full album Remember arrives just as the group is set to go on hiatus. It’s also on the heels of member Jinu’s military enlistment, essentially ending this era of Winner. And, what a turbulent, musically-diverse era it’s been. The group first debuted with a solid, sophisticated concept before moving into more rock-infused material. Then, after founding member Taehyun left in 2016, Winner found a second life amidst the burgeoning tropical trend. Since then, their music has largely focused on public-friendly, earworm tracks to varying success.
As is typical during this moment in a K-pop group’s career, new single “Remember” is one of those sappy “goodbye, for now” ballads. I’ve written about my fair share of these swan songs before, and my thoughts are usually the same.
A track like “Remember” hinges entirely on your fondness for the group themselves. As a piece of music, it’s a bit of a snooze, especially when compared to Winner’s strongest ballads. But, none of that matters if you’ve got tears in your eyes while watching the music video.
I don’t have tears in my eyes, but then again I’ve been hardened by an industry that churns out these kind of sentimental singles on the regular. It’s nice to hear the guys’ vocals front and center for the first time in a while, even though the bulk of the verses still follow the sing-talk structure often favored by YG Entertainment ballads. I like the song’s delicate, acoustic guitar instrumental, as it sidesteps the temptation to go overly grandiose, keeping things simple for a sound that feels comfortable and inviting. Still, “Remember” is too melodically repetitive to keep my attention the whole way through. It does what it needs to do, but when I crave a good Winner ballad there are many superior songs to choose from.
IATFB says: Not my type of music but also not really intended for me or really the point of it, honestly. I think one can make songs like this that end up as standouts musically (like Big Bang’s “Flower Road”) but at the end of the day, as long as WINNER’s fans are happy with it that’s the whole point of this release.